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CEE MARKETS-Crown, forint stuck at multi-month lows

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PRAGUE, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The Czech crown hit a near three-month low on Monday amid worries over weaker economic growth, while the Hungarian forint tested a seven-month low, continuing to cool after the central bank slowed the pace of rate hikes. Central Europe's currencies have been on the back foot in October, feeling pressure from a stronger U.S. dollar cutting into risk appetite and also from local factors, which include a renewed rise in COVID-19 cases in the region as vaccination rates remain below European Union averages. Currencies have struggled even with central banks all turning to tighter monetary policy to quell an inflation spike and investors pricing in sharp hikes in the next few months. The forint, which traded a tad lower at 364.8 to the euro at 1012 GMT, has lost 1.3% since last week when the Hungarian central bank lifted its base rate by 15 basis points, disappointing some investors who were betting on a faster pace. "Global investor sentiment needs to brighten up before the forint can strengthen. This is not specific to the forint at the moment," an FX trader in Budapest said, adding the 365 level would provide resistance to further losses. "We just need some positive news, either from China, where the Evergrande story is still concerning, or some better coronavirus data." With global markets keeping track of indebted developer China Evergrande Group, investors in central Europe are also watching a spike in COVID-19 cases in central Europe, with the Czech Republic tightening restrictions on Monday and looking to avoid costly lockdown measures. The Czech car sector is also weighing on the crown as the global chip shortage hits production. A trader said crowded short euro positions are being reduced, adding to the weakening. The crown lost 0.1% to 25.70 per euro on Monday and is down 1.2% since Czech carmaker Skoda Auto, part of the Volkswagen group, started a two-week shutdown on Oct. 18 due to a lack of chips. The zloty also lost 0.1%, trading on the weak side of 4.60 to the euro. Bank Millennium said price growth would increase pressure on the Polish central bank - which had held off longer than its Czech and Hungarian peers in reverting to rate hikes - to continue to tighten policy. "Unless anything unexpected happens, we hope that the EUR / PLN's stay (on the weak side of) the 4.60 barrier will be only temporary," it said. CEE SNAPSHO AT MARKETS T 1212 CET CURRENC IES Latest Previou Daily Change s bid close change in 2021 EURCZK Czech EURHUF Hungary 0 0 EURPLN Polish EURRON Romanian EURHRK Croatian EURRSD Serbian 0 0 Note: calcula 1800 daily ted CET change from STOCKS Latest Previou Daily Change s close change in 2021 .PX Prague 1334.64 1330.19 +0.33% +29.94 00 % .BUX Budapest 55232.8 55254.3 -0.04% +31.17 8 9 % .WIG20 Warsaw <.WIG20 2420.74 2417.09 +0.15% +22.01 > % .BETI Buchares 12857.1 12812.9 +0.34% +31.12 t 4 7 % .SBITO Ljubljan <.SBITO 1181.74 1191.57 -0.82% +31.18 P a P> % .CRBEX Zagreb <.CRBEX 2051.48 2048.34 +0.15% +17.95 > % .BELEX Belgrade <.BELEX 798.72 798.08 +0.08% +6.69% 15 15> .SOFIX Sofia <.SOFIX 577.99 574.78 +0.56% +29.15 > % BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic CZ2YT= 2-year s CZ5YT= 5-year s CZ10YT s Poland PL2YT= 2-year s PL5YT= 5-year s PL10YT s FRA 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interba nk Czech Hungary Poland Note: FRA quotes are for ask prices *********************************** *************************** (Reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague, Anita Komuves in Budapest and Alan Charlish in Warsaw; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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